We are lucky these days to live in an age of technology that makes almost all our lives easier and better (most would agree). But one thing that technology hasn’t improved over time is the sound and experience of playing a vinyl record.
Today we don’t even have to plug the vinyl turntables in to a socket, there are a large selection of portable record players on the market and in this post we will review the best of those. Lots of different brands are covered on the list.
Lets clear up a few things first: A portable record players is a turntable that is compact in size, light weight and can be easily moved around. Some of the players on our list are best found in flea markets and secondhand stores. But there is also a great trade on Ebay, not just in the states but around the globe also.
Vinyl records are still the king of sound quality, and no other format has come close. But the big drawback of vinyl is the size and nature of its playback system. Turntables have always been somewhat cumbersome animals, a harder step on floorboards and the stylus needle could jump and the needle and record damaged. And the size of the products are hardly iPod pocket size. The records are 12′ in diameter and the newer ones weigh in at 180gm, a few of these in your bag and its your back you’ll need to worry about.
But saying all this, there is a large range of vinyl turntables that are portable and are designed to be moved around with ease.
NUMARK PT01 USB TURNTABLE
This small and compact turntable is a battery operated player which has built in speakers and a carrying handle. It is very light so ideal for travelling or on the move people.
If you are someone who likes to trawl through garage sales and car boot sales looking for bargain records, then it takes nothing to bring this down with you. The PT01 will allow you to try out those rare records that look a bit dusty and haggard. If you are planning to listen to Numark’s PT01 USB at home then you can easily connect it to the AC adapter thats provided. There’s also a full set of analog outputs for connecting it to a standard mixer and PA system.
The turntable itself is a belt driven player and can play 33 1/3, 45 and 78 RPM records. It also has a +/-10 percent pitch control, which is ideal for matching beats. Also included is volume control and 1/4 and 1/8th-inch headphone jacks. Although the player s driven by a belt, you are still able to scratch because it has a great quality slip mat built into the 7 inch platter.
This turntable is a good option if you are interested in transferring your old records to a digital format. Priced at just under $100, this is great affordable player. The built in speakers are not the loudest, which is a disappointment for a portable player. The tone arm is a little delicate but they stylus is replaceable so upgrades can be made easily enough. The controls are on the lower right side. Here you can adjust volume, tone, and RPM.
Sound Quality of the Numark PT-01
I have already mentioned that this turntable comes with built in speakers but these don’t get very loud at all and if you were having a few friends over it would be very hard to hear the music playing. It is possible to connect this to a hi-fi stereo system and i have to say that it sounds great for such an affordable player. But if you are looking for a record player that has excellent high fidelity sound then you’d probably be better looking elsewhere.
Pros of the Numark PT-01 USB
Cons of the Numark PT-01 USB
Can get better sound quality for the money
No where to store the AC adapter
The Numark PT-01 is similar turntable to the Vestax handy trax USB, But costs around $300 less. Great player for on the go people. Perhaps you’re looking for a cheap portable player that has decent sound quality then look no further. Can be hard to find these days but I’ve listed two places that are selling it below.
VESTAX HANDY TRAX USB
The vestax Handy Trax has some mythical status among vinyl enthusiast as the best battery powered, portable turntable ever. Its not as cheap as the Numark PT01 but it is a better player. The Handy Trax has almost everything you’d need in a portable turntable. Its light weight and compact, sturdy enough to take a few bashes, can play 33 1/3 45 and 78 RPM records, and is able to either run on battery power or plugged in to a socket.
The Handy Trax speaker system is mono, but the cartridge and line-outs are stereo. The stylus provided is sapphire but can be easily updated to a diamond one, when the sapphire one wears out (which it will after time). The turntable is belt driven and has a metal platter and spindle. When you play records they do hang out the side of the chassis.
The majority of the Vestax Trax USB is made from hard plastic, along with the tone arm. The battery life is reported to be 65 hours.
Sound Quality of the Vestax Handy Trax
To get the best sound quality form the Handy Trax you will have to listen to it through a decent pair of portable headphones. The player does come with built in speakers (as you’d expect from a portable player) but these are not great quality and don’t go very loud.
Once you have acquired a good pair of headphones you will hear surprisingly full fequency response, great sufficient speed stability, low enough distortion and artifacts that focus your hearing on the record and not the player, and perfectly acceptable volume and tone control ranges. The speakers will then only be used on rare occasions where you will want to audition the records that you’ve found in front of an audience. A USB port
A disappointing feature of the player is the location of the ON switch. It is situated near the I/O jacks on the side of the player. This is a big problem because many times when i have come to put the turntable away it has hit the on switch by mistake and a few times i didn’t realise and it ran the batteries to the ground.
Pros of the Vestax Handy Trax USB
Cons of Vestax Handy Trax USB
Sound quality through speakers
Location of ON switch
See what others are saying about the Vestax Handy Trax HERE
If you are a big record collected and have never owned a portable turntable before then this Vestax USB will be a revelation to you. The great thing about this player and all portable players for that matter is the fact that you can take them with you while you scrawl and thus will probably end up buying less records, you’ll end up not taking chances on stuff that otherwise you would have gambled on.
Very easy to set up and lightweight and affordable, this could be your new best friend.
If you like this review take a look at our best turntables for under 100
CROSLEY CR6234A-BT DANSETTE JUNIOR
The Crosley company have been making vinyl turntables for a long time, the majority of their products are aimed towards the lower end of the market and the CR6234A is no different in that respect. This turntable is a two speed player (33 1/3 and 45) and has a belt driven mechanism for the platter, like many other lower end vinyl players. The stylus is a diamond tip.
Sound Quality of the Crosley CR6234A-BT Dansette Junior
Like all other players on our list of best portable turntables to buy, the Crosley Dansette is no different in the respect that it is has built in speakers, and has a AUX input, which allows the user to connect to their favourite listening device. The speakers are not the best and don’t go very loud at all. If you are buying this for the listening experience then i would recommend getting yourself a decent pair of headphones (they don’t need to be too expensive, but a decent pair would do) and then the listing quality will be improved no end. Alternately you could get this turntable which is much better on the sound quality.
Pros of the Crosley CR6234A-BT Dansette Junior
Cons of the Crosley CR6234A-BT Dansette Junior
Not great built in speakers
Heavy for a portable turntable
Doesn’t play 78 RPM’s
For a portable turntable the Crosley CR6234A-BT Dansette Junior is rather large and cumbersome. Its designed with a retro feel in mind and the colour scheme reflects that. The built in speakers aren’t great but the sound quality is drastically improved with a decent pair of speakers or earphones.
This is an ideal vinyl player for someone looking for a portable turntable but wants a bigger design from a well known brand.
See what others are saying about the Crosley Dansette junior Turntable HERE
AUDIO TECHNICA 727 SOUND BURGER
A really revolutionary and futuristic design, the Audio Technica Sound Burger has always had the power to turn heads. A very impressive piece of technology, and a wonder why Audio Technica stopped making it. These turntables are now only found on Ebay and second hand stores/garage sales.
The Crosley company have brought out a cheap imitation of the design, but i would steer clear of that. The Audio Technica AT-727 Sound Burger Is a twin speed, battery and mains operated turntable. The player is equipped with a high quality cartridge (as are most Audio Technica players) it includes ports for two sets of headphones and a connection for powered speakers
The Sound Burger can play 33 1/3 and 45 RPM speed records. The player need to be on a solid surface to function properly and is run by a belt driven mechanism.
Sound Quality of the Audio Technica AT-727 Sound Burger
This little vinyl turntable has almost mythical status for producing great sound and tone. Earphones are need on this device and i would suggest you get yourself a decent pair to get the most out of this turntable. None of the portable record players on this list are going to beat any direct drive or larger player for sound, but the Sound Burger does punch above its weight in this category.
Pros of the Audio Technica AT-727 Sound Burger
Cons of the Audio Technica AT-727 Sound Burger
Cant play 78 RPM
Expensive in the second hand trade market
There is an element of novelty with this small and compact record player, but if you are willing to pay the money on Ebay or second hand stores, then you won’t be disappointed with the sound quality or the way it looks either. When the player came out initially, it was to rival Sony’s walkmen and the company gave away headphones to boot. These days it can be ideal for travelling or on the move people as this Sound burger is the true portable turntable.
Hope you like this recap of the Best Portable Record Players to Buy. If you have a turntable that should be on the list then let us know.